Endurance training blocks are a great way for cyclists to accumulate a large volume of training hours and miles in a relatively short period. Endurance blocks can be very useful for athletes who are engaged in high-intensity interval training programs, or who compete frequently. During periods of high-intensity training and racing, aerobic endurance can actually decrease because cyclists spend very little time riding longer endurance miles. Creating and endurance block within a racing or high intensity training period can bolster aerobic endurance to support interval training.
During a long competition season, athletes ramp up their fitness from aerobic training to building speed and power at lactate threshold, and then adding in high-intensity work at VO2 max. But that’s where a lot of athletes get stuck, because they try to target high-speed, max-intensity work for too long, and their aerobic engines start to erode out from underneath them. Backing off the intensity in for a few weeks and focusing on a big endurance training block for 10-14 days can provide your aerobic system with the attention it needs to continue supporting your higher-intensity workouts and events.
Building your own Cycling Endurance Training Block
Think of this as a DIY training camp that focuses on long rides. Ideally, take a few days off from work or arrange to go in late a few days so you can create long weekends for 3 to 4 back-to-back big days (3-5 hours) in the saddle. The image below is an example of how you can turn two long weekends into an 11-day Endurance Block. Note the pre- and post-block recovery periods; these are important for enabling you to perform well during the block and get back to normal structured training quickly.
Who should consider an Endurance Block? Athletes who have an important event or race series in August-September, or riders who plan on transitioning into cyclocross season. This block helps address and support your underlying aerobic fitness so you can continue building your high-end race fitness.
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